Jekyll & Hyde
West End Operatic Society
8th April 2013
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of murder, mental illness and good versus evil, West End Operatic Society (WEOS), this year at Newcastle's Theatre Royal, pull out all of the punches (and grizzly carving knives) with blood splattering great musical fun.
The story of the good doctor, Dr Henry Jekyll, searching for a cure for his fathers mental illness unleashes the dark side of his character in the form of Edward Hyde, no stone and no bone will remain unturned in his savage quest.
Having been turned down flat to do his research at St Judes Hospital, Jekyll (Liam Gilbert) realises that if he is going to continue his work, he is going to have to go alone...and become his own guinea pig.
With a loving fiance Emma (Lisa Givens) in the back of his mind, pleading with him to afford more time with her rather than his work, he sets of in his lab/research study to find the answers.
The half answers lead him to the streets of London, to a sordid brothel, where he encounters a prostitute Lucy Harris (Katy Bowler). Lucy is a tart with a heart, who is needing a shoulder to cry on, so when Jekyll receives a visit from her after being attacked, he realises that his alter ego Hyde has done this damage and is happily obliged to help her.
Jekyll's best friend and lawyer Gabriel John Utterson (Mike Fleetham), is terribly worried about his state of mind, but is informed by Jekyll's butler that he is not to be disturbed, his work is paramount.
Attack after attack from Hyde, leaving many dead shock the City.
How will the city cope with the murders? What will become of the blossoming friendship between Jekyll/Hyde and Lucy? Is it too late to save the demons inside of Jekyll?
A fantastically gloomy set, sets us into the world of horror and relationships, with the costumes of the late 1800's sparkling like the gold of the streets of London.
Poor versus rich is very evident, with two separate choirs trying to out sing each other, each with their tale of hardship or ease of life.
If the singing wasn't enough to create a fantastic atmosphere then the brilliant orchestra (led by MD Graham West) certainly played its part.
Some brilliant song were sung like 'I need to know', 'Facade', 'Take me as I am' and 'Murder,Murder' all enveloping us into the play itself.
The acting from start to finish from all on stage, was at its best, WEOS are very constant at bringing the best acting to the fore. The acting had to be good, as I am sure the walls of the Theatre Royal would have shook otherwise.
Gilbert as Jekyll/Hide had one of the most memorable performances that I have seen for some time. In a lot of the scenes it is almost monologue, as he drives and battles against what he has become. A particular scene close to the end when Jekyll and Hyde are present at the same time, was beautifully done, well done to him.
Givens as the lovelorn Emma, acted very well with a lovely tone about her voice, again scenes close to the end summed up her great approach to this.
Bowler as the prostitute Lucy (or as I mentioned before, the tart with the heart), was wonderful to watch as she teetered on the brink of sowing her seeds and falling in love with Jekyll, he voice was perfect to listen to.
Fleetham as Utterson, gave a powerful performance as Jekyll's best friend and supporter.
Having seen Martyn Knight's work as director and choreographer before, I needn't have worried about anything going awry on the night, all very well put together and tight.
For such a dark and grizzly play, Jekyll and Hyde made the audience light up with appreciation...this was very well deserved, go and see it.!
Playing until Saturday 13th April